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Correlation between nucleocytoplasmic transport and caspase–3-dependent dismantling of nuclear pores during apoptosis
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Södertörn University College, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Neurochemistry and Neurotoxicology. Södertörn University College, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Neurochemistry and Neurotoxicology.
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2004 (English)In: Experimental Cell Research, ISSN 0014-4827, E-ISSN 1090-2422, Vol. 293, no 2, 346-356 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During apoptosis (also called programmed cell death), the chromatin condenses and the DNA is cleaved into oligonucleosomal fragments. Caspases are believed to play a major role in nuclear apoptosis. However, the relation between dismantling of nuclear pores, disruption of the nucleocytoplasmic barrier, and nuclear entry of caspases is unclear. We have analyzed nuclear import of the green fluorescent protein fused to a nuclear localization signal (GFP-NLS) in tissue culture cells undergoing apoptosis. Decreased nuclear accumulation of GFP-NLS could be detected at the onset of nuclear apoptosis manifested as dramatic condensation and redistribution of chromatin toward the nuclear periphery. At this step, dismantling of nuclear pores was already evident as indicated by proteolysis of the nuclear pore membrane protein POM121. Thus, disruption of nuclear compartmentalization correlated with early signs of nuclear pore damage. Both these events clearly preceded massive DNA fragmentation, detected by TUNEL assay. Furthermore, we show that in apoptotic cells, POM121 is specifically cleaved at aspartate-531 in its large C-terminal portion by a caspase-3-dependent mechanism. Cleavage of the C-terminal portion of POM121, which is adjoining the nuclear pore complex, is likely to disrupt interactions with other nuclear pore proteins affecting the stability of the pore complex. A temporal correlation of apoptotic events supports a model where caspase-dependent disassembly of nuclear pores and disruption of the nucleocytoplasmic barrier paves the way for nuclear entry of caspases and subsequent activation of CAD-mediated DNA fragmentation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 293, no 2, 346-356 p.
Keyword [en]
apoptosis, nucleocytoplasmic transport, nuclear membrane, nuclear pores
National Category
Cancer and Oncology Cell Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23063DOI: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2003.10.019ISI: 000188462700017OAI: diva2:190017
Available from: 2004-05-06 Created: 2004-05-06 Last updated: 2015-03-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Dynamic aspects of nucleocytoplasmic trafficking
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dynamic aspects of nucleocytoplasmic trafficking
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Cellular structures and compartmentalization is the result of a dynamic steady state exchange between its components. This thesis is focused in investigations of dynamic properties of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled proteins in live cells using confocal laser microscopy in combination with bleaching techniques such as fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) and fluorescence loss in photobleaching (FLIP).

Studies of dynamic properties of c-Myc in living cells showed that c-Myc is shuttling between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. c-Myc also enters the nucleoli during certain conditions. Nucleolar c-Myc is dynamically associated to structural component(s) of nucleoli, but can exchange with soluble pools in the nucleoplasm and cytoplasm.

Photobleaching experiments showed that a significant fraction of HIV-1 Vpr is dynamically associated with the NE and rapidly exchanges between the nucleoplasm and the cytoplasm. The yeast two-hybrid system, pull-down experiments and co-immunoprecipitating was used to show that Vpr interacts specifically and directly with a domain in the N-terminal portion of the NPC protein hCG1. The results suggest that the specific interaction of HIV-1 Vpr with the nucleoporin hCG1 results in the dynamic retention of Vpr at the nuclear envelope.

The distribution and dynamic properties of NPC proteins was investigated in NIH/3T3 cells, lacking the pore membrane protein gp210. Confocal laser scanning microscopy and FRAP experiments showed that the absence of gp210 from nuclear pores of NIH/3T3 cells did neither alter the distribution nor dynamic properties of POM121 and NUP107 (two NPC proteins stably integrated in the NPC).

Degradation of the integral nuclear pore membrane protein POM121 during apoptosis was investigated in relation to other apoptotic events. POM121 cleavage, which is the earliest sign of dismantling of the nuclear membrane, is due to caspase-3-dependent cleavage at aspartate-531. Loss of nuclear compartmentalization in live cells undergoing apoptosis was monitored as appearance of GFP-NLS in the cytoplasm. The time of appearance of cytoplasmic GFP-NLS correlated with caspase-3-dependent cleavage of POM121. Both events occured concomitantly with collapsing of chromatin against the nuclear periphery, but preceded the onset of nucleosomal DNA fragmentation.

Translocation ability of the cell-penetrating peptide, transportan, into living cells was investigated. Recombinantly expressed GFP was purified and conjugated to chemically synthesized transportan via a disulfide bond and added to tissues culture cells. Transportan was able to internalize a 27 kDa protein such as GFP in a native folded state into living cells.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för neurokemi, 2004. 41 p.
National Category
Cell and Molecular Biology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-140 (URN)91-7265-803-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-05-28, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 12 A, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2004-05-06 Created: 2004-05-06Bibliographically approved

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Iverfeldt, Kerstin
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